Roads around Australia are not getting any smoother. Just ask any motorist or better still, anyone towing a trailer, be it a caravan, horse float or commercial trailer. At the same time many passenger vehicles used for towing have softer suspension. While cars by themselves generally adapt well to undulating roads, a car-trailer combination is a different story.
In addition to rough road surfaces causing a trailer to move up and down or pitch, this movement is transferred to the towing vehicle causing an uncomfortable ride and possibly adding stresses to the tow vehicle.
One way of overcoming the pitching from the trailer being passed forward to the tow vehicle is to replace the standard trailer coupling with an Oz Glide. It is the only hitch dampening system available in Australia offering a smooth ride to both the tow vehicle and the trailer. While the Oz Glide does not change the static ball weight, it delivers a smoother ride by reducing the downward impact applied to the vehicle tow ball through its unique airbag and shock absorption system. As a result there is a smoother, safer and more comfortable ride. When applied to a horse float, there is the added benefit of reducing stress to livestock.
If we step back in time 30 or 40 years ago, it wasn’t unheard of for passenger type vehicles to suffer from body distortions preventing doors or boots being opened when towing heavy loads. These days with the continual increase in caravan weight, excessive stresses from rough surfaces can cause a chassis to crack or bend, even when manufacturers towing recommendations are not exceeded.
It’s the dynamic loads on the rear of tow vehicles that are the main concern. If these can be reduced, there is less pressure on the vehicle. This is where the Oz Glide comes in. It is able to absorb and dissipate some of the additional downward forces normally applied to a standard coupling. The end result is a less stressful ride to the vehicles and its occupants.
Recently I had an opportunity to road test the unit using a six 6m caravan and Nissan Patrol. It was an ideal combination – typical of the rigs used by many caravanners. We started with the Oz Glide set up for action which involved inflating the air bag to achieve its recommended position. A hand pump can easily do this as the pressures are relatively low.
On the road there was no question that the caravan rode smoothly. By looking in the rear view mirror it was possible to monitor the up and down movement of the front of the caravan relative to the Patrol’s rear mounted spare wheel. There appeared to be no transfer of caravan movement to the tow vehicle.
Next the Oz Glide was ‘de-activated’ by placing a pin through the Oz Glide body, basically making it a standard fixed-body coupling. Travelling along the same stretch of road it was noticeable that some of the caravan pitching was transferred through the tow ball to the tow vehicle.
This unique coupling can be beneficial on any large trailer, whether carrying a car, heavy or valuable equipment or livestock.
The manufacturer has gone to great lengths to ensure it meets all engineering standards and can withstand all road and weather conditions. For more details check out http://www.ozglide.com.au/ where a video will show what happens with and without an Oz Glide.
Fitting details can also be obtained from Coastal Caravans in Kuna Park QLD phone 07 5456 2456 or Yankalilla SA on 08 8399 0400.
Reviewed by Tom Olthoff
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